Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Girl Needs Girls. And Chocolate.

I am one lucky girl.

It’s Day Eleven of Kids-At-Camp-Mom-Not, and two more well-written letters from Darling Daughter have arrived at my door.

I absolutely adore when Mike the Mailman delivers “real” mail – even though the envelopes bear my own handwriting because I had pre-addressed and stamped them myself. I'm not even bothered to know that I owe DD one dollar for each of these letters. (Yep. That's the going price for a well-written letter. Don't judge me. It works.)

To me, DD is compulsively “readable.” I read and re-read each of her notes, scavenging for details I may have missed the first time through, seeking additional clues to her mood by trying to read between the lines and analyze her handwriting and choice of ink color. However, I am considering tucking a thesaurus in her next care package. The word “awesome” is beginning to show some wear.

Her most recent letter is from Day Seven, just before her first dance. She wrote, “I am so excited! Each Saturday, they bring dinner to you on the porch while you have a shaving party! After you shave, you take showers. Then comes the dance.”

My own heart did a little two-step as I read those words: shaving party. (Yes. I did briefly consider the potential health and safety issues. But only for an instant.)

We don’t get to choose our memories. We don't get to decide which details of an event will be tattooed on our brain for a lifetime. For example, from DD’s four weeks at camp, I’m not positive that, 20 years from now, she’ll remember: Did she sail or ride horseback? Did she play tennis or golf? Did she water-ski or learn to fly just by running at a fast clip and flapping her arms? (OK, that last she might remember.) I feel certain, though, that she’ll recall, in precise detail, “shaving parties.” I wasn’t there, of course, but even I have an indelible picture in my mind – all those slender pony-tailed girls on a long wooden porch, with their colt-like legs angled this way and that, stars in their eyes, doing far more chatting and giggling than shaving.

A girl needs girls – whether she’s 12 or, like me, 46. And while DD was sharing Schicks with her girls this past weekend, I was sharing stories in Boston with mine, including Super Sis (blog editor par excellence) and three of the funniest, funnest, smartest, dearest women I know. Our friendship goes back over 20 years, from when I lived and worked in Boston in the 80s. As I said, I am one lucky girl.

Boy did we laugh.

We drank, we laughed. We ate, we laughed. We shopped, we laughed. We used profanity, we laughed. We snapped pictures of inappropriate signs, we laughed. Sometimes we giggled and squealed and snorted. And then, we laughed.

A couple of times, we couldn't even talk for laughing. We promised each other that what happened in Boston would stay in Boston. Even so, some of what happened kind of leaked out around the edges and found its way home. (Dang Facebook. And cell phones. And me.) But we just laughed some more. SS and I laughed all the way to the airport and all the way home to Charleston (SS) and Charlotte (me). We're still laughing now.

Not all of the stories we shared were funny, of course. We’re older now and have seen far more than our share of difficulties. Of the five of us, three are messily divorced. One of us had attended two funerals the week before -- including a shocking one for a teenage boy. There were stories of infidelity and money woes and difficult teenagers and assorted family tragedies. But in the end, we found humor in sharing. We laughed.

Girl power at its best.

Naturally, today’s recipe has to include every girl’s favorite ingredient – chocolate. So here's a little something that SS shared with me, but I haven’t yet tried. It's a little unusual, but just by looking at it, I think it’ll work. (Besides, the idea of baking cake in a coffee mug makes me laugh!)

Because truly, I am one lucky girl.

The Five-Minute Chocolate Cake For One Person
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
Small splash of vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in a large, microwavable coffee mug (no kidding). Stir in the beaten egg. Pour in milk and oil. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and oil. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will puff up, but don’t be alarmed. Allow to cool a little and tip out onto a plate if desired. Sounds like it would be good with whipped cream, too, don’t you think?
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